If you have not been to many music festivals, the Audiotree music festival is a great festival to get started with; and if you have been to music festivals before, it’s one you’ll surely love.
It’s the perfect size for a weekend outing: large enough to secure some extraordinary acts, but still small enough to be intimate and comfortable.
The event was held at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place. It’s not a huge area, but there was plenty of room for everyone. Parking was close and decently priced ($15 altogether for both days). Security did not allow food or drink into the festival but there was a spot to refill water bottles and plenty of vendors.
The assortment of vendors fit into the event was impressive; they brought food, drinks, records and merch, and a travel agency even showed up. The choices for food included barbeque, noodles and stir fry, or tacos. There was a vodka truck serving drinks inspired by the bands performing, and Topo Chico was handing out free bottles of sparkling water. The wait for the merch table was never excessive, and the people running it were friendly and pleasant to talk to. The single water fountain could have long wait times, though it never caused me to miss anything.
The crowd started out small: until Smino performed, I would guess it was about 50-100 people by the stage. More people were sitting in the shade away from the stage. After the crowd filled out, it was still small enough that a decent view was almost guaranteed. On Saturday, the amount of people attending multiplied, but it was still possible to see the stage or to get to the front of the crowd, especially if you weren’t concerned with personal space.
It took people a little while to get energetic. This was particularly noticeable during BADBADNOTGOOD’s set on Saturday, when the crowd was hesitant to go along with the band’s antics. This was probably due to the variety of bands playing: a lot of people were seeing some of the artists for the first time (myself included). This wasn’t really an issue though; the crowd’s energy was great once things got moving. It really was a pleasant crowd; even with mosh pits forming in the front and everyone dancing, I never noticed anyone being too pushy or inconsiderate. All in all it was a great crowd; it seemed like most everyone was always having a good time.
Audiotree picked great headliners. SuperDuperKyle put on a fantastic show; he had great interplay on stage with his hype man and the crowd. The energy was palpable. Full disclosure, I had planned on leaving part way through his set as I’d never heard any of his music, and I had some friends tell me it wasn’t going to be good. I’m glad to say they were wrong: it was a crazy fun show. King Gizzard was a totally different kind of show. They filled the stage with their numerous members, and played for around 85 minutes. During the show there was improvised video loops projected behind the band. Their whole setup was impressive and looked and sounded incredible.
The headliners weren’t the only ones that put on great shows. I enjoyed most everyone, and even the acts I wasn’t a huge fan of were still exceptionally talented groups. A few of my favorites were Pinegrove, Lizzo, and Twin Peaks. I had seen Pinegrove before, so I knew what to expect; their music always brings about such sentimentality and feelings of friendship--I felt so warm and fuzzy after they played. Lizzo was out of control: everyone on stage was electric, and one of my favorite moments of the whole festival was when she yelled, “Look at my ass Kalamazoo!” and proceeded to move her body in ways I wasn’t sure I was allowed to be clapping for. Twin Peaks could have easily closed the festival out. Their drunken energy was hilarious and contagious; I wanted nothing more than to play loud music while inebriated after they were done performing.
The production and tech side of everything was satisfactory. The lights couldn’t be seen until the end of the night which was a bit of a bummer for the opening bands, but wasn’t a big deal. The sound was great; the best word to describe it was clarity: there was plenty of bass, but it wasn’t overpowering, and everything on stage could be heard from anywhere in the crowd.
In case it isn’t clear already, I wholeheartedly recommend going to the Audiotree Music Festival. It is a perfect blend of intimacy and established acts. There was tons of great music and generally a pleasant atmosphere. It’s great for both avid festival-goers and those looking to get their feet wet. I know I’ll be back next year.